Spontaneous Combustion of Coal
The subject of spontaneous ignition of coal in piles is one which interests all water departments who are compelled to handle this substance as fuel and also fire departments in whose jurisdiction are coal yards or plants which use large amounts of coal in producing steam for their manufacturing processes. In both instances the dangers from coal fires and the measures to be taken to prevent them are of vital interest.
Mr. Hood’s carefully prepared article on this subject which leads this week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING will be found of great assistance to all interested in the subject of fire prevention in coal piles. He shows that the relative danger of spontaneous combustion is much greater in the storage of large quantities of coal than in the smaller coal piles. He also brings out the fact that the small sizes of coal, and especially bituminous, are more subject to spontaneous combustion than the larger varities of anthracite. He also emphasizes his contention that the presence of sulphur or other volatile content is not, as is often supposed, the most important consideration of the condition of spontaneous combustion, but that the natural temperature of the coal at the time of piling is more important and that other dangerous conditions which tend to increase susceptibility to spontaneous combustion are breakage in handling, freshness of the coal and improper screening before storage. The paper will be found of much value to both fire chiefs and to superintendents of water works who use coal as a fuel.
An excellent method of Fire Prevention teaching is that adopted by the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Pennsylvania State police department. Chief C. M. Wilhelm, of the bureau has adopted the method of instructing the school children of the state by radio. The advantage of this system lies in the fact that many of the schools in the state have installed radio sets, and thus the instruction which is broadcasted by the bureau is a practical help to the teachers. It includes not only general Fire Prevention subjects but also discusses the methods ot fire drill and other details which will assist teachers in bringing home Fire Prevention lessons to their scholars. Several of the teachers have already notified the bureau of the benefit which this system has been to their scholars and the help that it has been to them in their instruction on the subject. This plan could profitably be adopted in other states.
Chief John J. O’Brien, of the Indianapolis, Ind., fire department, was slightly injured at a two alarm down town fire a few days ago, which was confined to the basement in the Army and Navy Underselling Store. The chief’s injury was a cut over the eye suffered in a fall getting through an opening leading to the basement. Chief O’Brien tied a handkerchief around his head and resumed his duties. A few moments later his driver approached him to ask how serious the wound might be. Pushing him aside, the chief replied “Oh, the devil with that! Lets get the fire out first and see to that later!” This caused a round of laughter from those nearby.